Picture this: A 15-year-old girl receives a sudden call from an unknown number demanding money, or he will leak her nude photos that she sent to her boyfriend via Snapchat on public platforms. Startled by this, the girl locks herself in the room, goes into severe depression, and eventually commits suicide because she does not have the money to protect herself.
Sounds obnoxious, doesn’t it?
Well, this is the story of many children nowadays. Parents have no idea what their child is doing 24/7, leading to severe psychological problems. It is imperative now more than ever that parents utilise the services of high-end internet providers, such as Optimal Internet, to help them monitor their child’s social media activities. This blog will give insights into how parents can ensure their child’s safety on social media. But, before that, let’s look into the risks that social media poses on the lives of children.
Social media platforms might seem cool and trendy, but it has risks.
Cyberbullying involves sending mean or harmful content about someone else. For example, sharing a personal message to embarrass another person. The most problematic part about cyberbullying is that it often goes unnoticed.
However, cyberbullying adversely affects the victim’s mental health and, in some cases, constitutes depression and suicide.
Underage children, with no idea of child identity theft, reveal sensitive information online. Scammers take advantage of such naive audiences and often take out fraudulent loans or carry out other harmful tasks.
Social media is filled with inappropriate images, texts, and posts, and not everything is kid-friendly. From pornography to racist comments, children are inadvertently exposed to unsuitable content, causing psychological damage.
While it is almost impossible to keep your child out of social media these days, parents can still do a few things to ensure their child’s safety.
It is hard to keep track of what your child is doing 24/7. Therefore, you should communicate well with them to learn about what they are up to on these platforms. Ask them, from time to time, if someone is threatening or teasing them.
Moreover, you can ask them to inform you directly whenever they receive a message from strangers or if they get a text from a known person that seems unusual. Your child should have the confidence to discuss anything with you openly.
You can set parental controls to limit your children’s social media usage. You can impose restrictions such as how long they can access the platform and what they can see. These settings will also allow you to block any harmful content.
Furthermore, you should also inform your child about what content is inappropriate. Set ground rules and allow them to ask questions. Additionally, check your child’s privacy settings recurrently.
Do not allow your child to use social media all day. Social media overuse cause all significant problems related to it. Establish a clear screen time. Motivate them to play outside or indulge in other physical activities that might deviate their attention from the platforms.
To start with, you can pick specific times, such as dinner time and bedtime.
Children often find it hard to react to online harassment or humiliation. Teach your kids about cyberbullying and what they can do if they encounter it.
Furthermore, teach them the use of block and report features. Ask them to use these to get rid of any trolls and bullies. Additionally, tell your children that they have your support no matter what.
Stalkers use location information to stalk children and learn more about them. Despite this, many children do not consider location settings as sensitive information and become prey to cyberstalking.
Hence, you should not only educate your children about keeping the location off, but also keep a check on it. Disable location sharing from all social media platforms and remove location sharing options from your child’s device.
It is hard to keep your children away from social media platforms. Even if you put in all your efforts, their friends might force them to start using the applications. Therefore, instead of keeping them away from it, parents should take the necessary steps to ensure their child’s safety on social media. This includes taking actions such as setting parental controls, disabling location information, and teaching your child the right use of the block feature.
While social media is a great learning and communicating platform as well, teaching your child about its dangers at an early age will help them stay safe and aware.
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